Police have arrested a man they say has bikie links and was involved in setting up an online fraudulent company, using unwitting call centre operators.
Call centre workers who inadvertently helped steal $1.4 million from mum and dad investors didn’t know they were working for a bikie front company, police say.
Queensland police on Thursday arrested 33-year-old Tyrone de Luca, who they allege is a member of the Black Ulhans bikie gang, over a fake investment scheme.
Another 33-year-old man, believed to have been linked to the Bandidos, is a suspect but he’s yet to be questioned.
The two men allegedly helped clone the website of a real WA investment company, M6 Treasury, and operate a cold call centre that encouraged people to invest their superannuation savings in their fake company.
Detective Inspector Phillip Stevens says it isn’t unusual for two different bikie gangs to work together.
“There seems to be no boundaries as to who they associate with. It’s becoming more common that criminal motorcycle gangs will do business with one another if it suits their purposes,” he told reporters.
He says the unwitting call centre workers didn’t know they were working for a front company.
“The template for these things is that the people involved in the telemarketing or the cold call centres don’t have an idea of the ultimate gain,” Det Insp Stevens said.
“Their role is to simply to make contact and to pass it on to the people who will approach the victims.”
He also says up to 30 to 40 fake call centres are operating on the Gold Coast.
Police say de Luca had worked at 11 Queensland companies over the years and officers are now looking into his other business dealings.
The anti-bikie Taskforce Maxima’s Criminal Economy Unit says more arrests are likely to follow.
The taskforce has been set up in response to the Queensland government’s crackdown on outlaw motorcycle gangs, including tough new penalties passed in parliament last year.
De Luca appeared briefly in Southport Magistrates Court on Thursday and will reappear in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday.